Seebo's Run

A running commentary on my training and whatever else emerges from that.

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Main Line 5k

Reading the title of this race, it sounds like some way to get a more intense dose of running - you take your 5k and, like heroin, you mainline it. But its not like that.

Instead, running this race requires a trip up to Wayne, Pa., up on the Main Line which is, for you non-locals, the upper class suburbs that line Lancaster Ave. once you get out northwest of Philadelphia. Wayne is the epicenter of what David Brooks calls the "bo-bo" phenomenon - the new cultural elite with their "bourgeois bohemian" aesthetic:

And so suddenly the streets of Wayne are dominated by the PBS-NPR cohort: vinyard-touring doctors, novel-writing lawyers, tenured gardening buffs, unusually literary realtors, and the rest of us information age burghers. These people have different aspirations than the old country club and martini suburban crowd, and naturally enough want their ideals reflected in the sort of things they buy and images they project...

It was into this mix that a marathon training-psychologist and a weekend warrior-sociologist entered to race. The event was thoroughly organized, and judging from how well the volunteers directed the parking it was clear that no-one would take a wrong turn on the course that day. There were sponsors galore and folks that Reba knew through work (her employer was one of the sponsors) and I knew through my Bryn Mawr involvement. And for me, it was good to get back into the racing scene. I forgot that, apart from an athletic event, it is also a social outlet.

And there was a race. The course was praised by all and the first mile ran down Lancaster Ave into downtown Wayne, past the Anthropologie and the kiddie boutique and the pottery painting store, and into the leafy back streets. I felt comfortable and settled into about tenth place as the field shook out and was pleasantly surprised as the first mile split read 5:30. After this, however, the course got challenging with hills - more up than down - before a loop around the Valley Forge Military Academy's track. Mile two was in about 6:15. I knew it would come in slower but 45 seconds slower leads me to believe that the markers were miscalibrated. Now I was where I figured I'd be - on track to finish on either side of 18 minutes. More hills on the last mile and I reel in one guy, then another who kicks back and we duel down the home stretch. Its double despair as I don't have the gas and he passes me at the chute while the clock ticks past 18 minutes to 18:04.

So, like I said, pretty much where I thought I'd be. On a flatter course, probably a bit faster. I had fun. I realize that I miss racing, and am eager to do it again. Stay tuned.

All in all, about 7 miles.


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